Kingsmen Use Defense, Timely Offense in NCAA Regional Round One Victory
NCAA regional play underway with win
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – In the First Round of the NCAA Division III Baseball Playoffs hosted at Linfield College as part of the McMinnville Regional the No. 5 Cal Lutheran baseball team faced off with Illinois Wesleyan for the first time in school history. On a hot Northwest afternoon, the Kingsmen used runs in the seventh and eighth to go along with stellar defense throughout the game to earn a 2-1 victory over the Titans.
CLU starting pitcher Jake Petersen worked 8.0 innings, striking out six and surrendering just four hits and one run, which was earned, before giving way to Aaron Roth for the final three outs, two coming by strike outs to earn his 12th save of the spring. The starting southpaw also helped his own cause with a 2-for-4 day at the plate that included the game-winning run.
Petersen got some solid defensive efforts behind him with diving stops from Davey Casciola, Collin Crowl and Craig Jacobson over the first three innings. Gabe Gunter made a pair of phenomenal catches at the wall in left field and also contributed at the plate with a double and run to knot the teams up at 1-1 after seven innings. Additionally, Spencer DuBois and Jacobsonteamed up to catch a would-be base-stealer that ended the fourth. Austin Kay made a great grab in shallow left field for the second out of the eighth as well.
Illinois Wesleyan struck first with a run in the top of the seventh frame on a leadoff double down the left field line from Adam Glogovsky, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly from Pat Mollo to break a scoreless game up.
The Kingsmen countered in the bottom of the inning with a little help from a fielding error by IWU during a two-out rally. After Gunter hustled out a fielder’s choice to avoid a double play, a miscue allowed pinch hitter Kyle Sanchez to reach. He was promptly pinch run for by Kay. DuBois stroked a single to left, advancing to second on the throw, allowing Gunter to slide into the plate from second with the equalizing run.
Petersen then got a 1-2-3 eighth, with a looking strike out to end his day on the hill, bringing the CLU bats back to the plate.
The first three men of the inning reached for the Violet and Gold. A Petersen single was followed by an RBI double from Ramsey Abushahla to put the Kingsmen ahead for good and knocked Illinois Wesley starting pitcher Jeff Johnson (6-3) from the hill. Reliever, Dan Truesdale recorded the final two outs of the eighth for the Titans.
While Abushahla was ultimately retired to end the sixth he got out of an 0-2 hole, working a full count and forcing Johnson to throw more than 10 pitches to him in the at-bat.
With the save, Roth reached 12 for the second consecutive spring to match his school record for a single-season.
Illinois Wesleyan (25-19) collected five hits with Glogovsky recording two including the only extra-base hit allowed by CLU pitching.
In the opening game of the tournament, host Linfield defeated LeTourneau 1-0 in a 10-total hit game that featured another pitching duel between Chris Haddeland (11-1) from LC and Cody Whitley (6-3) from LTU with the lone run coming by way of a solo homerun from Kramer Lindell in the bottom of the fourth inning. Each pitcher tossed a complete game with three and two strikeouts apiece, respectively.
The third game of the day will feature Trinity (Tex.) and Wisconsin-Stevens Point at 7:00 p.m.
Cal Lutheran (35-8) will face the winner of the TU/WSP game tomorrow evening at Roy Hesler Field inside of Jim Wright Stadium at 7:00 p.m. The other Second Round games at 12:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. will feature LeTourneau and Illinois Wesleyan and Linfield vs. the loser of the TU/WSP game, respectively, on Thursday, May 15.
Box Score: CLU 2, IWU 1
McMinnville Regional Website: McMinnville Regional Tournament Information
Playoff Central: D3baseball.com Tournament Central
CLU Twitter: https://twitter.com/clusports
Follow Nicho: @CLUBaseball
CLU Instagram: http://instagram.com/clusports#